Comparison Testing – A Comprehensive Guide

Our objective behind this article is to make you aware of comparison testing. It is among several different types of testing that analyses a product’s capability to compete in the market.

Comparison testing is not new to the world of software testing. Not many of you are able to leverage its benefits due to a lack of knowledge.

You may not know exactly, what makes comparison testing even exist – what are the merits and demerits of a comparison test – what should you compare – how should you compare, and so on. This guide is for you.

Let’s go through the guide step-by-step.

What is Comparison Testing?

comp testing

What do you think about comparing something? What does it mean to compare two things or objects with respect to each other?

In simple terms, to compare means to consider the similarities and differences of two entities. That is, you take two objects and note down the similarities between them. Likewise, you point out what all things are different in them. The idea that remains constant in a comparison test is the type of product you choose to compare.

For instance, if you developed an android application, you will compare your product to another android app only. You will find out in what terms your product is similar to or different from the other one.

Then you will analyze – is your product better than the one you compared with or it needs improvement? You actually evaluate a product with respect to others. This is the main idea behind a comparison test.

So, what is the conceptual a.k.a technical meaning of comparison testing?

Comparison testing is a testing technique that compares fresh software with existing software in use. It is a test of software that reveals the strong and weak points of software when compared with other products that are available in the market at present.

A comparison test clearly identifies the capability of a software product to satisfy the needs of the market. Comparing it to existing software provides you with the criteria to test your product. Like other testing techniques, comparison testing also qualifies a software product to be marketable, profitable, and deployable.

Comparison testing makes you assess the quality of your software product against the ongoing competition. Using a comparison test, you can check whether the product you developed is beneficial for its users or not.

Moreover, you get a chance to analyze your performance in front of your competitors. You get the opportunity to highlight the advantages of your product over that of your competitors’.

Well, a comparison test is not just for comparing your product with your competitors’. You can also compare your software against the previous versions of your product. It gives you an opportunity to make your software better in successive releases.

A comparison test evaluates a software product on areas like functionality, performance, quality, usability, features, security, help manuals, etc. Apart from these features, software testers evaluate other areas on the basis of stakeholders’ requirements.

What Is The Need For Comparison Testing?

Indeed comparison testing is a part of software development. But, what makes it so? What do you need a comparison test for your software? What is the importance of comparison testing?

This section is aiming to make you understand the significance of comparison testing so that you can employ the best practices for hosting a comparison test.

Comparison testing compares two or more different objects with each other. This is done for several reasons.

To prove the suitability of the product

You developed a software product. Now, you want to check whether this product is suitable for deployment in the market. How will you check this? You will look for similar products on the market.

When you find one, you will note down the properties or features of that product. Then, you will try to compare those properties with your product. What makes you do this?

The willingness to prove that your product is an asset to the people just like the one you compared with. This made you compare your product with another one. Therefore, a comparison test aims to realize the need of the product itself in the market.

To check the competitive nature of the product

A comparison test reveals a lot about your product and its nature. When you consider your software product with your competitor’s version of the product, you get to know many things.

The similarities and dissimilarities you notice in both these products allow you to evaluate your product in the ongoing competition. You can check whether your product is able to face the race or not.

The comparison test enlists the weak and strong points in your product and helps you to work on them accordingly.

You can also opt for a comparison test to determine the effectiveness of your product versions. On comparing both the releases, you can select a better one among them. That is, you can analyse them on the basis of present-day competition and finalize the appropriate version for the market.

To measure the quality of the software product

People believe in what they are using in reality. You also tend to follow what your competitors are bringing up. A Comparison test checks the quality of your product while comparing it with the existing usable product in the market.

The test will clarify if the product is capable of satisfying the needs of the people. You can figure out the loopholes that make your product less effective.

A quality check is a must for any software. Comparison testing allows you to refine your product and add missing details if it is the next release of the same software. You can determine the robustness of the current version by comparison test, and if it is not satisfactory, then you can improve it in the next one.

To decide on further versions of the software

A comparison test allows you to analyze the need for new releases of the software product. If you measure two versions of your software against one another, you will get to know about the limitations (if any) of the current version.

Also, you may find something more exciting and worth keeping in the previous version. Then you can work on the same version to make it more effective rather than releasing a new one.

When Should You Perform a Comparison Test?

There is no specified phase of software development that accounts for comparison testing. Since a comparison test evaluates two elements on the basis of their performance and features broadly; you can perform it throughout the software development process.

Comparison testing would allow you to select the best for your product.

One important thing you must be very clear about is, comparing testing is not only about testing software products.

A comparison test is to contrast two or more elements, whether it be the product itself or the independent components that make a complete software. There are different stages of software development when comparison testing can be made to evaluate effectively.

The initial stage of software development

When you start developing software, you need to plan the initial phase of the development process. What your software would look like? What will be its characteristics?

You have to work on the interface of the software first. You have to make it interactive. A comparison test is helpful in determining the best interface style for your software product.

You can try out different ideas for the interface and then compare them one be one with each other to mark the plus points in each of them. Then analysis all the points and identify which of them works for your software. Finally, find out the best interface for the software.

The middle stage of software development

When you have reached the intermediate stage of software development, you have many things to consider for your product. Your software may contain different buttons for performing a variety of functions.

It has different frames, databases, categories, features, to name a few. You may have varied layouts of the same structure. Many frameworks have been developed to aid in software development. You have to choose the one that is suitable for your software.

A comparison test can be carried to compare the internal elements of the software to make sure that the product is preferable for the customers. Working on minute details of the software helps in refining the product efficiently.

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Grzegorz Kłos
Grzegorz Kłos - Apphawks Co-founder
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